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Gather the Spirit is highly flexible and rich in possibilities. So make choices: Do not try to do everything. Then plan and prepare, plan and prepare, then plan some more. Make use of the ideas offered below under Before You Start.
Plan tight, so you can present loose. Planning tight means knowing exactly what you will do in each moment of each workshop, and obtaining and setting up the supplies needed to do it. Presenting loose means that once you are set to go, with everything necessary at hand, you can relax and adjust to events as they occur. One activity has totally engaged your group and threatens to eat up more time than you have allowed? Fine. You are achieving exactly what you hoped to achieve. Another activity is a bomb despite all that time you gave to finding just the right supplies? Sigh, and let it go. Move on to something else. Save the supplies for another day. Plan tight, present loose and don't worry. As the workshops proceed and you know your group better, your predictions of participant appeal will become increasingly accurate.
A well planned and engaging program will not only keep participants interested, it will also greatly increase the chances of appropriate group behavior. In a multigenerational group, you may get leadership support and good behavior modeling from other adults. But do not hesitate to offer firm leadership. Too many side conversations? Use a talking stick or other implement, saying that only the person holding it may speak at any one time. Too much energy in the room? Call for a quick stretch break. Too many opinions on what to do, when? Remind participants of time limitations and gently move the group forward. Posting a written workshop plan can be helpful in that regard.
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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
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